Tension has gripped Okomoko Community and it environs in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State as residents embark on protest over discovery of bodies of five persons believed to have been killed at a beer parlour last Saturday night by suspected members of local vigilance group in the area.
The recovery of the dead bodies from Otamirioche, a popular river in the area by local divers on Monday morning led to uncontrollable wailing and outpouring of grief among the wives, children and other relations of the deceased.
Members of a vigilance group modeled after the one operational at Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni local Government Area (ONELGA) Security Planning and Advisory Committee, OSPAC, and adopted by the Etche Local Government Council are being fingered as the culprits responsible for the killings.
Hon. Ogbonna Nwuke, the immediate past member representing Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency in his Facebook post on his timeline posted photos of corpses recovered and wrote: “Bodies of victims of the OSPAC attack recovered from the Otamirioche River in the Etche Local Government Area. A Yoruba man, we have learnt, was also killed in the attack on a peaceful community last Saturday night.”
It was gathered that emotions of onlookers ran wild when the remains of someone who was never mentioned among those initially killed was pulled out of the River.
At time of filing this report, five bodies had been recovered from the river.
Meanwhile, the Obinna Anyanwu, Chairman, Etche Local Government Council has condemned the killings, while assuring that the Council will help the security agencies in their investigations.
The Police Command in the State has not reacted to the incident as at the time of filing this report.
Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, had on Tuesday June 25, 2019, complained about the proliferation of vigilance groups in the state, stating that youths interested in helping to build the state’s security architecture should join the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.
This is as traditional rulers from the Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas submitted arms retrieved from repentant criminals in their area after a local amnesty programme.
Speaking at a brief ceremony when he received the Ekpeye Traditional Rulers from Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas at Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said the decision became necessary after OSPAC from Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area started over stepping their boundaries.
He said: “I am being very careful about Vigilance groups in all the local Government Areas because of what OSPAC is doing. They are now going beyond their boundaries,” Wike said.